Julia Roberts' 2014 awards season has been suddenly marred by tragedy. As previously reported, the Oscar winner's half-sister, Nancy Motes, was found dead of an apparent drug overdose in an L.A. residence on Sunday, Feb. 9. As the August: Osage County actress, 45, copes with the loss, she canceled scheduled engagements at the Academy Awards' Nominees Luncheon in Beverly Hills on Monday as well as a Jimmy Kimmel Live appearance later that day.
"The family is both shocked and devastated," Roberts' family (which also includes her older brother Eric Roberts and his daughter, Emma Roberts) said in a statement. The body of Motes, a production assistant, was scheduled to be examined on Monday. Lieutenant Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner told Us Weekly that Motes was found in a bathtub, with prescription and non-prescription drugs found on the scene. "We're taking it as a suicide, not a drowning," Corral said.
Motes told the New York Daily News that her relationship with her most famous sibling was "a work in progress . . . I love Julia absolutely, and I have no doubt she loves me."
Nonetheless, Motes alluded to an ongoing family rift via Twitter last October.
"It's a shame when you get more support from strangers than you do from your family. I can't wait to officially belong to another family!" she wrote. "A family that loves & accepts me. Doesn't throw shade my way. Forgives me for my mistakes & loves me for who I am."